Today was spent on White Mountain. It was the driest visit I have seen this area compared to previous visits, It had less wildflowers in bloom in terms of numbers and species. However, the low rain didn’t take away from the Bristlecone Pines, as they are as impressive as ever. Unfortunately, I never manage to be there early morning or early evening to see or photograph them in the best light.
The flowers were sparse on the paved road, which goes up to Schulman Grove. Even Schulman Grove had a lot less flowers than usual. Also the new visitor center is still under construction and won’t open until September. (There is a temporary visitor center in a trailer).
If you are willing to drive the rough unpaved but auto accessible road to the Patriarch Grove you will get to see most of the flowers now in bloom. The most plentiful flower is Coyote Mint and the greatest numbers of flowers are closer to and in the Patriarch Grove. Both groves have Bristlecone Pines and hiking.
Starting in the town of Big Pine you go through high desert habitat and Pinyon/ Juniper Forest before getting to Schulman Grove. The flowers seen included Milkweed, Prickly Phlox, Blazing Star, Scarlet Penstemon, Southern Mt. Misery, Rabbitbrush, and Brewer’s Angelica. Also seen were Mule Deer, Jack Rabbits and many chipmunks.
At Schulman Grove there were Paintbrush, Flax and Paintbrush.
On the unpaved road to the Patriarch’s Grove flowers identified included Paintbrush, at least two Lupines, Prickly Phlox, Coyote Mint, Hawksbeard, Golden Flower, Scarlet Penstemon, Wall Flower, Showy Penstemon, Douglas’s Pincushion, Alpine Sandwort, at least two Buckwheats, and Purple Asters. Also seen were Mt. Bluebirds, Mt. Chickadees, Painted Lady butterflies and unidentified blue butterflies.
Patriarch’s Grove has some of my favorite flowers. Many small “belly flowers”. They are easy to miss if you don’t look carefully. In bloom today were Rosy Buckwheat, Alpine Paintbrush, two yellow and one purple composites and a very tiny Locoweed/Astragalus. (See photo in slideshow to see how small it is.)
- More Eastern Sierra Wildflowers (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
- Yosemite High Country Wildflower Report 7/12/12 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)
- Eastern Sierra Wildflower Report: Rock Creek Road 7/13/12 (naturalhistorywanderings.com)